Coffee and teas are something we cherish as they are delicious and refreshing and help us wake up in the morning. As we become accustomed to caffeine, we build a tolerance that decreases its physical and mental effects on our body, negatively affecting our performance. Plus, too much of anything – even a good thing – is bad, which is why you sometimes need to put down a cup of tea.
Here are the best traditional tea alternatives to fill the void.
1. Lemon Water
Lemon water is a favorite whenever I take a break from black tea. It’s simple and easy to make. Not only is the fruit packed with vitamin C and traces of other minerals, but it is also a refreshing, calorie-free, and caffeine-free drink that can perk you up.
It can either be served hot or iced, but I suggest you go for the latter as it can emulate the caffeine’s effect of releasing adrenaline to your body which will wake you up and hydrate you well!
2. Chamomile Tea
Unlike black, green, white, yellow, red, and oolong tea, chamomile tea is not a true tea but a herbal tea. Those who are used to drinking white tea in the evening can opt for this caffeine-free alternative that can still effectively lull you to sleep. The daisy-like plant has natural properties that can lower your stress levels.
The unique aroma of chamomile tea has a soothing effect, although studies are still inconclusive. Regardless, it is a gentle alternative that brings several health benefits. A cuppa is best served hot and with honey to taste.
Check out our guide on how long to steep chamomile tea.
3. Barley Coffee
There will be times that you will crave the taste of a cup of Joe if you’ve sworn off it. The good news is that barley coffee resembles a regular cup of coffee’s flavor. It has mild nutty, smoky, and earthy notes.
The bitterness isn’t prominent, so it is pleasing to consume, and this caffeine-free beverage provides a thicker and maltier consistency that gives off a creamy aftertaste. It is OK to consume at any time of the day and is best served hot with a dash of milk. You can heighten the creaminess and the nutty notes by using almond milk!
Barley can also be used as a base for tea! This is a popular cuppa in China, South Korea, and Japan, to name a few, and is rich in antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage and might aid in boosting your body’s ability to burn fat.
4. Peppermint Tea
A great pick-me-up should be something that can gently reenergize you, and a caffeine-free option such as peppermint tea is something you have to consider. The mild menthol zing of this beverage brings a calm and soothing sensation from the moment you drink it until it runs down your throat, something that can revitalize you in the middle of the day.
It can also freshen your breath and help with indigestion, making it a perfect drink after lunch or an afternoon snack. In addition, one of peppermint tea’s health benefits includes alleviating certain types of headaches, while its aroma is claimed to have a calming effect. You can just as easily read someone’s peppermint tea leaves too!
One alternative tea substitute that is flavorful and easy to make is a fruit shake or smoothie. The drink is very flexible, as you can decide which fruit or vegetables you want. This chilled beverage can be served anytime, preferably in the morning, to give you energy for the day.
The health benefits vary, depending on its components. Albeit higher in calories, the beverage has more substance and nutrients than tea due to the number of ingredients, so it’s worth it. If you want a delicious and filling substitute, go for this option.
To learn more, you can check out our coffee vs. smoothies guide.
6. Rooibos Tea
Looking for an alternative that resembles the natural refreshing taste of our usual cuppa won’t be too difficult if you are familiar with rooibos tea. The beverage comes from the red bush or rooibos plant native to South Africa.
When brewed, it has an earthy and smokey flavor with vanilla cherry notes and a subtle honey-like sweetness. The reddish-brown cuppa is less bitter than true teas due to its low tannin levels. It is packed with potential health benefits.
It contains polyphenols that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate stress. Like many traditional tea alternatives, you can brew this with bags or tea leaves.
7. Chicory Coffee
Another substitute that bears a resemblance to a cup of Joe’s flavor despite being caffeine-free is chicory coffee. It has been used as a coffee enhancer or coffee alternative from as far back as the 19th century and is made from the roots of the chicory plant, which are roasted, grounded, and brewed like your usual coffee. It is slightly bitter compared to regular java and has an interesting flavor profile due to its herbal, woody, and nutty notes, with some featuring a fruity undertone, depending on how it was roasted.
Chicory is rich in inulin, a compound that aids in improving digestive health. Additionally, it promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Check out our round-up of the best chicory coffee brands.
8. Golden Turmeric Milk
This alternative is an acquired taste for some. Still, no doubt, golden turmeric milk is a beverage that boasts a divine aroma, an explosion of flavor, and an exhilarating experience without caffeine. This creamy concoction is made from milk and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper.
It offers a creamy, eggnog-like drink that can punch you awake despite being caffeine-free, and this should be at the top of your list if you love a beverage that packs heat. It has an overpowering herbal flavor that blends well with the milk’s milder nature, but it can also be masked with a dash of honey, vanilla, or cocoa powder.
It is best served hot but can also be enjoyed during nighttime as the drink has soothing effects that can help you go to sleep. The combination of spices is rich in nutrients, with some having anti-inflammatory properties while others improve mood and cognitive functions, to name a few.
9. RYZE Coffee
RYZE coffee is a popular mushroom coffee and a healthy alternative to a morning cup of tea. It contains healthy mushrooms like cordyceps, lion’s mane, and reishi mushrooms and has a creamy consistency. We’ve included it on this list as it contains minimal caffeine and is available as a once-off purchase and subscription product.
For more, read our RYZE Coffee review.
MUD\WTR sells a coffee alternative to reduce these adverse effects while giving users high energy levels for drinkers. It’s similar to RYZE Mushroom coffee in taste and effects and also has minimal caffeine content. It contains masala chai, cacao, lion’s mane, adaptogenic mushrooms, cinnamon, turmeric, and Himalayan sea salt.
Boil some hot water and brew MUD\WTR like a regular coffee. For more, read our MUD WTR review.
Matcha is a green ground powder popular in Japanese tea ceremonies. It’s also popular in South America. Although technically a tea, it’s thicker and richer than a cup of earl grey or breakfast tea and it’s also rich in antioxidants.
However, remember, Matcha contains between 19-44mg of caffeine. That makes it more robust than green tea and on par with dark coffee. That said, you can opt for a caffeine-free version.
12. Coconut Water
Coconut water is a clear liquid full of healthy nutrients and electrolytes. I regularly drink it cold and/or at room temperature after a workout or when I want a tea substitute. It’s more refreshing and tasty than water and ticks the box as a healthy drink! That said, tea fans can heat coconut water and drink it hot.